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A dry herb vaporizer is a device that heats up cannabis and releases vapor, which you inhale to experience the effects of the herb. The vapor will have THC and/or CBD in it, depending on the strain you’ve chosen.
In fact, the same amount of bud goes much further when vaped in a dry herb vaporizer, compared with smoking a joint or other "combustion" methods. We'll discuss this higher efficiency in detail below.
Dry herb vaporizers are also easier on the lungs compared with smoking weed. And as an added bonus, there's a lot less smell, so they're more discreet.
What does dry herb mean?
"Dry herb" means the only type of material you can put inside the vaporizer are ground-up herbs. This includes cannabis flower.
Dry herb vaporizers aren't limited to just pot though. You can also vaporize other dry herbs like peppermint, lavender, and more; there's a huge number of herbal options out there.
The Benefits of Using a Dry Herb Vaporizer
Dry herb vaporizers have a lot of advantages compared with old school methods like smoking. First, they're easier on the lungs compared with combustion. Smoking a joint releases many of the same carcinogens found in tobacco smoke, but in smaller amounts.
In comparison, vaporizers are much better for the respiratory system. Especially if you avoid the highest temperature setting on your vape.
Dry herb vaporizers are also more efficient with herb, getting you more bang for your buck. They’ll deplete your supply more slowly.
Vapes produce way less odor than joints, and the smell doesn't linger the way marijuana smoke does. It's much easier to be discreet when using them. The flavor of the strain also comes through more clearly, because it’s not combined with the smell of smoke.
Some people, especially medical dry herb vaporizer users, want to be precise with dosages when vaping. A vaporizer with precise temperature settings lets you choose your vibe. Smoking a joint involves super-hot temperatures, and dosages can be tough to control.
Are Dry Herb Vaporizers Worth It?
Smoking a joint is cheap: you just need rolling papers and a lighter. Is shelling out for a weed vaporizer really worth the price?
The answer is yes, absolutely. Just read dry herb vaporizer reviews, for the vapes that can actually produce quality vapor. And see how many people are dissatisfied with the decision to switch to using a weed vape.
Some of them have minor complaints, and not everyone has found the best dry vaporizer for their needs, but very few plan to go back to smoking.
And remember, even ignoring all of the health benefits, dry herb vapes pay for themselves in the long run: by getting you more THC and CBD from your weed.
Stronger sessions, herbal savings
A 2018 study compared the THC blood concentration levels between people that smoke and vaporize the same amounts of cannabis. It found that vaping results in over 40% more THC being absorbed into the bloodstream.
When you smoke a joint, many of the active ingredients are destroyed before they get a chance to be inhaled. Dry herb vaporizers don't burn the herb, so you're able to get a lot more of the active ingredients when vaping.
Just imagine how much further your herb will go, if you need 40% less of it for the same effects each session.
Dry herb vape leftovers: AVB
The leftover dry herbs from vaping can be saved and used in recipes and other things as "AVB", or "already vaped bud". This vaporized weed looks a little brownish and toasted. Because the material hasn't been burnt, it'll still have some potency left in it.
So you can get an extra round of fun out of your herb, making a dry herb vape that much more efficient. The savings on cannabis costs will quickly add up.
How do Dry Herb Vaporizers Work?
Vaporizers come in many different shapes and sizes. Each style works a little differently, and the options can be a little overwhelming if you're exploring vaporizing weed for the first time.
Conduction and convection vaporizers
Vaporizers use two different methods to heat up herbs: conduction and convection heating.
Conduction heating works through direct contact with a hot surface. The vaporizer bowl usually sits right on top of a heating element. As the element heats up, so does the chamber.
Once it gets hot enough, vapor is released from the herb. When you inhale, the vapor travels through the vaporizer into the mouthpiece, and then into your lungs.
Convection heating is similar, but a little more roundabout. In a convection vaporizer, the element will heat air, and then the hot air will flow throughout the chamber, warming the herb inside and releasing vapor. And then you pull on the mouthpiece and breathe in the vapor.
Conduction vaporizers are more portable, easier to use, and have a longer-lasting battery. Convection vapes are bulkier and more expensive. And if they're portable at all, the battery life is usually shorter. But the vapor produced by some convection dry herb vaporizers is excellent, and that can make the cost and other drawbacks potentially worth it.
Desktop vs. portable dry herb vaporizers
Desktop vapes are designed to be used when you're at home. They’re big, lack a battery, and need to plug into a wall outlet. They tend to use convection heating, and the price for a high-end desktop dry herb vaporizer can be high.
Desktop vaporizers aren't versatile, but they can be awesome as home units. And many desktop dry herb vaporizers have larger bowls, making it easier to enjoy a bigger session, or for sharing with friends.
Portable vaporizers are more popular with most users. You can bring a portable dry herb vaporizer wherever you go, but using it at home is always still an option. And you can take it around the house with you, unlike a desktop vaporizer that's stuck in one room.
How Do You Use a Dry Herb Vaporizer?
Using a vaporizer is simple. First, use a grinder to grind your herb. For conduction vapes, you want the herbs to be pretty finely ground. Convection vapes can be a little leafier.
Then load the herbs into the heating chamber or oven. Tamp them down slightly so that it's a bit densely packed, but not super-tight, or you'll block airflow. Make sure not to overfill it. Now close the heating chamber and turn on the vape, then select a temperature.
Best temperature settings for vaporizing
There's no one right temperature for vaping - it's a matter of personal preference, and you'll discover what you like best after you've had some experience with your vape.
Cannabis begins to vaporize at 320°F (160°C), and starts to deliver more effects at 356°F (180°C).
The more you turn up the vape, the more active ingredients you'll vaporize. But the flavor will change at higher temperatures, and your overall experience might become more intense.
The sweet spot for most people is somewhere between 356°F (180°C) and 392°F (200°C), but you can definitely go higher than that.
You can also gradually turn up the temperature during your session. This way, you'll experience the fullest flavor at the beginning, but also release the maximum amount of THC and/or CBD.
Using dry herb vapes
Wait for the vape to heat to the target temperature. The heat up time will vary depending on your vape, some are fast and others are slow, which can get annoying. Then place your lips on the mouthpiece and inhale the hot air at a slow, steady pace.
Wait a second or two (you don't need to hold vapor in your lungs), and then exhale at the same slow pace. The first hit may be lighter as the herb is still heating up. When you exhale you will probably see some vapor leaving your lips and floating in the air.
At lower temperatures, there may be little-to-no visible vapor, but that doesn't mean it's not working. Higher temperatures tend to produce more visible vapor and bigger clouds.
And that's it! Keep taking hits from the vape mouthpiece until you feel like you've had enough, or until the hits become too weak or you start tasting a bad toasted flavor.
Some dry herb vapes have different instructions so be sure to pay attention to the manual for your specific weed vaporizer. But in general, the above is a good guide to what to expect when using most of the vapes out there.
What is a Concentrate Vape?
Some vaporizers are designed to vape concentrates, instead of dry herbs. Cannabis concentrates are substances made by distilling the active ingredients of marijuana flower, and there are many different kinds.
Wax, budder, shatter, and rosin are among the more popular concentrates. Have a look at our guide to cannabis concentrates to learn more.
Concentrates usually have much higher percentages of THC and terpenes than flower, and pack a big punch. So it's best to start slow and with small amounts if you're new to them.
Some of the best dry herb vaporizers can vaporize both dry herbs and concentrates. The Furna has specialized concentrate ovens that you can swap in, making it simple and convenient to switch from back and forth from dry herbs to concentrate. You can even pre-pack ovens before leaving the house.
Which is the Best Dry Herb Vape for Beginners?
Most beginners choose a portable vape as their first choice, simply because they're more versatile and tend to be cheaper.
Some vapes that receive consistently good reviews are PAX, Storz & Bickel's Crafty, Furna, and the Davinci IQ2. Check out our handy chart to see how the portable dry herb vaporizers compare.
Each vape has their advantages and disadvantages, but all these vapes have excellent temperature control and produce great vapor. And they're easy to use, for people new to the vaping experience.
Portable and desktop vaporizers
The range of devices out there these days is remarkable, and it's worth doing a bit of research to figure out what features appeal to you. It also makes sense to buy a quality vape that will last you for the long-term.
An inferior device can deliver disappointing vapor, have low battery life and slow battery recharge times, and might break down at some point. A desktop vape might deliver the best vapor quality, but you don't want to miss out on the convenience of a portable dry herb vape.
The best vapes include features like precise temperature control, and produce vapor that's strong and tastes great. It's also important to have good battery life (unless you're looking at desktop vaporizers), fast heat up times, a good temperature range, fast charge times, durability, and ease of cleaning.
The Furna gets top marks in all these areas, and rises above the competition when it comes to convenience and portability because of its swappable oven system. Learn more about it here.